Ressa loses bid for case dismissal

April 15, 2019
Maria Ressa

RAPPLER’S Maria Ressa yesterday suffered another legal setback after the Manila regional trial court denied her motion to quash (dismiss) the cyberlibel complaint filed by businessman Wilfredo Keng.

This means Ressa’s cyberlibel case stays.

Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa of Branch 46 also ordered the arraignment of Ressa and former Rappler writer Reynaldo Santos, Jr. at 8:30 a.m. today.

Judge Montesa junked Ressa’s motion due to lack of merit.

Records showed that Keng sued Rappler over a May 2012 article that he allowed former chief justice Renato Corona to use his SUV, and his alleged involvement in human trafficking and drug smuggling.

Citing the multiple publication rule, government prosecutors indicted Rappler, Ressa, and Santos because the article, though it was published in 2012, was republished on February 2014, hence punishable under the cyberlibel law.

Ressa contested the Department of Justice’s resolution, saying that the law did not take effect until April 2014 when the SC decision upholding the law’s validity became final, and the restraining order was lifted.

But the Manila RTC in a nine-page order stressed the TRO just suspended the “implementation and enforcement of RA 10175, so that crimes committed during the said period cannot be prosecuted” but it did not suspend its effectivity.

“So while crimes committed during the said period cannot be prosecuted during the effectivity of the TRO, they may be prosecuted after the lifting of the same just like what is done in this case,” the order read in part.